Property tax rebates coming back, but can we afford them?

From the Star Ledger:

Gov. Christie says he will restore N.J. property tax rebates

Gov. Chris Christie said today he will restore property tax rebates that were eliminated in the budget last year.

“We’re going to reinstitute the rebate this spring and you’re going to get it quarterly as a credit on your property tax bill,” Christie said at a town hall meeting.

Christie said the rebates will not come as an annual check, as it did in previous incarnations.

Christie said the October checks cost the state money to print and mail. He also said that the state had to borrow and pay interest on the rebates because they were made during the fall.

Beginning in the second quarter of this calendar year, Christie said taxpayers eligible for rebates will see a reduction in the property tax bills. Christie said as the 2 percent property tax cap takes effect, his office will also try to offset additional increases.

“We’re looking for a way to increase the amount we give each quarter,” Christie said. “When this year’s budget coming up we’re going to see if we can expand the program further to try to give people some relief as we expand this 2 percent cap.”

This entry was posted in New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Property tax rebates coming back, but can we afford them?

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Home Prices in U.S. Probably Fell at Faster Pace

    Residential real estate prices probably dropped in November by the most in a year, signaling housing has yet to join the U.S. rebound, economists said before a report today.

    The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home values in 20 cities fell 1.6 percent from November 2009, the biggest 12-month decrease since December 2009, according to the median forecast of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Another report may show consumer confidence rose in January, extending a see-saw pattern of gains and losses since the recession ended in June 2009.

    Mounting foreclosures will probably throw more properties on the market this year, further depressing prices, homeowners’ equity and construction. The lack of a sustained housing rebound and unemployment above 9 percent are among reasons the Federal Reserve may announce this week it’ll complete a second round of stimulus that will pump $600 billion into the economy by June.

    “The large overhang of unsold houses will weigh on prices,” said Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. “Housing is lagging the economic recovery. It is one factor encouraging the Fed to remain on the sidelines.”

    The S&P/Case-Shiller index, based on a three-month average, is due at 9 a.m. New York time. Survey estimates ranged from declines of 2.1 percent to 0.1 percent, after a 0.8 percent drop in October.

  3. grim says:

    From the Huffington Post:

    Financial Crisis Commission Finds Cause For Prosecution Of Wall Street

    The bipartisan panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis has concluded that several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law and has referred multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution, according to two sources directly involved in the deliberations.

    The sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, declined to identify the people implicated or the names of their institutions. But they characterized the panel’s decision to make referrals to prosecutors as a significant escalation in the government’s response to the financial crisis. The panel plans to release its final report in Washington on Thursday morning.

    In the three years since major lenders teetered on the brink of collapse, prompting huge taxpayer rescues and amplifying an already painful recession into the most punishing downturn since the Depression, public indignation has swelled while few people who played prominent roles in the crisis have faced legal consequences.

    That may be about to change. According to the law that created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the panel has a responsibility to refer for prosecution any evidence of lawbreaking. The offices that have received the referrals — the Justice Department, state attorneys general, and perhaps both — must now determine whether to prosecute cases and, if so, whether to pursue criminal or civil charges.

    Though civil charges appear a more likely outcome should prosecution result, one source familiar with the panel’s deliberations said criminal charges should not be ruled out.

  4. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    JPMorgan: Annual homes sales must average 5.5 million to absorb liquidations

    JPMorgan Securities said existing home sales need to average about 5.5 million units a year to absorb a projected 2.25 million to 2.5 million in liquidations.

    While analysts said the “recent run up in prices may mean we tread water here for a bit,” and they await data on how the pace of liquidations relative to existing homes sales impacts home prices and severities, their target for private-label residential mortgage-backed securities remains.

    “We think that our view from our 2011 outlook is still reasonable,” analysts said. “Severities will ramp 5 to 10 points higher, and home prices still have another 4% to 6% decline to go.”

  5. 250k says:

    chifi from last post on yesterday’s thread

    >>Churches Find End Is Nigh
    >>The Number of Religious Facilities Unable to Pay Their Mortgage Is Surging

    Spent all the cash on pedophile priest lawsuits?
    Will church membership go the way of synagogue membership? Pay-to-pray?

  6. grim (3)-

    That’s a laugh. None of these crooks will be prosecuted.

  7. Of course, the fact that no banksters will be prosecuted means that the eventual justice meted out will come via mob.

  8. 250K (5)-

    God is dead. And broke.

  9. Confused In NJ says:

    Glad to see that the rebate will actually be an electronic credit on municipal tax bill rather then an expensive paper check. Always annoyed me that we spent millions of tax dollars on distribution & delivery of checks.

  10. JJ says:

    I must alert Whitney a bond I owned paid out today, OMG it did not default. Actually bond was issued 11/1/2000 and compare it to stocks over same period and you can see the muni bond crisis is over stated.

    01/25/2011 REDEMPTION PAYOUT
    957366AV9 WESTCHESTER CNTY N Y HEALTH CARE CORP REV 05.37500% 11/01/2020 REV BDS SER. 2000 B
    Price: $100.00

  11. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    In December, I asked Commissioner Shulman about what I perceived to be shortcomings in the last offshore account amnesty. Now IRS is going to announce a new amnesty. We’ll see if my suggestion is heeded.

  12. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    From a Fancy Nancy book I am reading to my toddler:

    “I am a plume-asaurus. A dinosaur that is imaginary.”

    OK, I thought it was funny.

  13. Egypt next up on the domestic insurgency list.

    “When we reported three days ago that 59 outbound shipments of gold were intercepted at the Egypt airport, we predicted that the country’s oligarchs were proactively preparing precisely for what they knew is coming imminently. It has arrived. From Al-Jazeera: “Hundreds of protesters have begun to take to the streets in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, chanting slogans against the police, the interior minister and the government, in scenes that the capital has not seen since the 1970s, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reported. Downtown Cairo has come to a standstill, and protesters are now marching towards the headquarters of the ruling National Democracy Party. “It is unprecedented for security forces to let people march like this without trying to stop them,” Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reported from the site of the protest.”

  14. plume (12)-

    You may want to consider spending some time away from your kids.

  15. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (14) clot

    Not an option.

  16. chicagofinance says:

    In all its glory… pun intended…

    JANUARY 25, 2011
    Churches Find End Is Nigh
    The Number of Religious Facilities Unable to Pay Their Mortgage Is Surging


    ROSEVILLE, Calif.—Residential and commercial real-estate owners aren’t the only ones losing their properties to foreclosure. The past few years have seen a rapid acceleration in the number of churches losing their sanctuaries because they can’t pay the mortgage.

    Just as homeowners borrowed too much or built too big during boom times, many churches did the same and now are struggling as their congregations shrink and collections fall owing to rising unemployment and a weak economy.

    Since 2008, nearly 200 religious facilities have been foreclosed on by banks, up from eight during the previous two years and virtually none in the decade before that, according to real-estate services firm CoStar Group, Inc. Analysts and bankers say hundreds of additional churches face financial struggles so severe they could face foreclosure or bankruptcy in the near future.

    “Churches are the next wave in this economic crisis,” says Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a non-profit civil-rights group, who works with pastors around the country to help churches negotiate better terms with their bankers.

    Religious denominations of all kinds have suffered in recent years as donations have declined, with many Catholic parishes closing and synagogues merging their congregations. But the property-financing problems have been concentrated among independent churches, which while seeking to expand lack a governing body to serve as a backstop to financial hardship.

    “Religious organizations may be subject to the laws of God but they are also subject to the laws of economics,” said Chris Macke, senior real-estate strategist at CoStar. Many troubled churches, he said, are in states such as California, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, which also have some of the highest home-foreclosures rates in the country.

    In many cases, churches ran into trouble after borrowing to build bigger houses of worship needed to accommodate growing congregations in once-booming housing markets.

    Pastors Rich and Lindy Oliver decided their Family Christian Center needed more space after their congregation rose from a few hundred in the early 1990s to 650 by 2002. The church borrowed $4.2 million and began building a new 1,000-person sanctuary on 11 acres in Orangevale, Calif., including classrooms and a space for adult learning.

    But when housing prices across California began tumbling in 2006, followed by a surge in unemployment and foreclosures, many congregants moved away, and those who were left reduced their tithing sharply. Meanwhile, the property, valued at $8.5 million in 2002 was appraised at just $2.5 million in 2008.

    Stretched to the limit, the pastors stopped making payments. “I just told the bank to take it,” Mr. Oliver said. “If you’re a church with a piece of property upside down and no one will refinance the loan or lend you more money, there’s not really another choice but to walk away.”

    Bankers and lenders typically are reluctant to “foreclose on God” and seek to work out deals with churches. But none proved possible in the Olivers’ case.

    These days, Mr. Oliver said his church, renamed The Family Church, was “doing what the rest of America is doing—we’re cutting back and simplifying.” In November, the Olivers raised $700,000—not nearly enough to rescue the previous church—from donations and personal loans from church members and used it to lease a former furniture store in a strip mall in Roseville, Calif.

    Traditionally, lenders considered churches good risks because of the weekly cash flow generated by tithing, as well as the moral compulsion felt by most pastors to pay down debt.

    But during the real-estate boom, regional and community banks attracted churches with lower rates on shorter-term loans. At the same time, some bond underwriters began offering churches more money up front if they issued so-called compound-interest bonds. In such cases, churches often paid nothing until the bonds came due years later, but then had to pay both the principal and accrued interest, which often doubled the amount they owed.

    Many such bonds come due in the next few years. But with property values down and cash in short supply, many churches won’t have the funds to payand will have trouble refinancing. “In 2011 and the next couple of years, we’re going to see a big maturity wall hitting these churches,” said Scott Rolfs, head of Wisconsin-based investment bank Ziegler and Co.’s Religion and Education practice.

    Many churches have also been upended by plain mortgages. Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Sacramento took out a $1.9 million mortgage to acquire a $2.3 million 18,000-square-foot property in 2004 that included a church and two retail spaces. Johnny Zapara, the pastor, had refinanced his own home for $400,000 to make a down payment and expected to pay most of the $17,000 monthly payment with income from retail tenants.

    When one of the tenants went out of business and a new one couldn’t be found, Vineyard subsidized the payments for two years. Eventually the church ran out of money. and couldn’t refinance because the value of the property had fallen sharply.The lender foreclosed earlier this month.

    “A building does not make a church. We will find a way to continue,” Mr. Zapara said.

  17. chicagofinance says:

    How this pile of excrement makes it to the WSJ is beyond me. Pure NYT fodder…
    Cheers Stu & Gates:

    JANUARY 24, 2011
    Montklair Fears Tough School Cuts


    The Montklair, N.J., school district is considering closing schools to bridge a budget gap, and parents are up in arms.

    It’s a big change for the acclaimed district, which embodies the principle of choice that Gov. Chris Christie and education reformers throughout the country say is essential. As long as spots are available, parents can pick from among themed elementary and middle schools rather than seeing their children funneled into the closest school.

    Now the school board worries it can’t pay for all that choice. It raised the prospect of closing schools—a move more frequently associated with poor academic performance—to save money in the 6,645-student district.

    That stings parents, who say it’s an unnecessary and short-sighted attack on the system.

    “We should move heaven and earth to preserve this magnet system,” said Christine McGoey, a parent whose child’s school might be closed, using the term for the open-borders-style system. “Nothing is broken.”

    Montklair, like districts across the state, is facing painful decisions as public budgets deal with the deep recession. This year, Montklair’s highest-earning teachers took a one-year pay freeze; the district was one of a few that did what Mr. Christie was calling for across the state. But the anticipated $900,000 in savings could not make up for $5.4 million cut from its state subsidy, part of nearly $820 million in cuts statewide.

    The board president, Shelly Lombard, a former auto-industry analyst, said the district has to anticipate losing what’s left of the state subsidy, $3.6 million. And with salary increases and other rising costs, the district’s expenses next year are projected to be about $3.1 million more than this school year’s $110.6 million budget, leaving a hole of about $6.7 million. The district is trying not to raise taxes, a year after a 4.4% tax hike.

    Ms. Lombard, who was appointed by the mayor, said that while school closings aren’t inevitable, it would mean more resources for others. A recently built school has enough capacity to bring in other students, and the remaining buildings could be rented out, she said.

    “Every year we take away things, every year we strip away librarians, we strip away foreign language,” she said, adding that it would be better to have fewer “vibrant choices” than more “stripped-down” ones.

    The district has garnered attention nationwide for its magnet system, launched in 1977 to desegregate the schools. Now, students and parents have a palate of elementary schools that include Montessori-style teaching, and a focus on science and technology, arts and performance and world languages and culture. Parents and school officials say the district is socially and economically diverse, and has attracted forward-thinking families, including that of the acting state education commissioner, Christopher Cerf.

    The idea for closing schools, first brought up by the board last year, resurfaced in October through one of several parent-run groups analyzing the budget.

    Gabriela Bambrick-Santoyo, who has three children in the school system, hit the books, saying she found research that said closing schools didn’t necessarily save money or improve education. “If you had the math, I would totally be open to it,” said Ms. Bambrick-Santoyo, research coordinator and director of a HIV-prevention project. “To close it without a real reason for it would be a crime.”

    Ms. McGoey launched a group she calls “Save Our Schools Montklair,” and began selling tomato-red wristbands to raise money. Others came forward with ideas to raise revenue, such as selling naming rights to the ballfields, or closing administrative offices and moving them into the excess school spaces. The school district is also considering bringing special-education students back in-district instead of paying much more to other specialized schools.

    Parents argue that reducing choice would bring down property values in a state where high property taxes are the sacrifice made for top-flight schools. Realtors say they haven’t seen such an effect yet, early in the process, but add that the magnet system is one of the major selling points in the town.

    Ms. Lombard, who said she felt under siege, added that she was trying to conduct the process openly. “I don’t mean to sound defensive, but this has not been pretty,” she said. “If I could move to Mexico tomorrow, I would, because this has been a very unpleasant process.”

  18. ditto says:

    I don’t get why Montclair prices are so high considering the iffy high school. Sure, you can cough up 30K or whatever to send your kid to the Academy each year, but thats not deductible and you’re still paying property taxes on top of that. Montclair prices are a mystery to me. Tho perhaps not as much a mystery as West Orange prices.

  19. Juice Box says:

    re # 13- Big recipient if US military assistance since the Camp David peace accords in 1978. The Egyptian regime with its well-paid military, is likely to be more unified and more ruthless than its Tunisian counterparts were. Egypt has been able to crackdown on all riots and protests for the last three decades because of US aid. Mubarak is up for election in Spetember, if anything they will push to vote him out.

    NY Times reports few clashes today, and it seems troop carriers were seen ready to go at a moments notice.

  20. Bystander says:

    #2- People in NY, NJ and CT now coping with the fact that they can only list for double their 2000 purchase price , not triple. Woe is me. My p*ss stained,Hawaii 5-0 themed ranch with $12,000 tax bill was worth so much more once. Bad times indeed.

  21. Bystander says:


    What was Carlins quote about the church. “God is all knowing & powerful but he is just really bad with money. He always needs it. ”


  22. Juice Box says:

    NJ it’s different here.

    Failure To Produce The Note No Problem, says New Jersey Trial Court

    In Bergen County, New Jersey, Mondaq reports (“footnote 1″ appears in the original text of the story):

    * In contrast to other recent well-publicized decisions, a New Jersey state court has held that, in order to seek foreclosure of a mortgage that has been securitized, a lender need not demonstrate actual physical possession of the note memorializing the underlying debt. In Bank of America, NA v. Alvarado, BER-F-47941-08 (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. Jan. 7, 2011), the court held that the plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment striking the borrower’s answer, dismissing her counterclaim and entering default, even though the plaintiff’s predecessor, which was the original lender, had lost the note before transferring its interests to the plaintiff. The court found that this result was compelled by the doctrines of equitable/common law assignment and unjust enrichment.

    * The Alvarado decision marks a departure from prior holdings over the past year in which courts throughout the nation have been unwilling to allow lenders to enforce their security interests absent a demonstration of actual physical possession of the note.(1)

  23. ricky_nu says:

    RE church & money:

    Jesus Saves


    Moses Invests!

  24. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    The Fat Man (gov, not coach) on Bloomberg right now

  25. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    I wonder if how this works out with regard to the NJ ruling.

    Insurance Companies Sue Bank Of America Over “Massive Mortgage Fraud”, Find 91% Of Securitized Loans Are Misrepresented

    In carrying out its review of the approximately 19,000 Countrywide loan files, MBIA found that 91% of the defaulted or delinquent loans in those securitizations contained material deviations from Countrywide’s underwriting guidelines. MBIA’s report showed that the loan applications frequently “(i) lack key documentation, such as verification of borrower assets or income; (ii) include an invalid or incomplete appraisal; (iii) demonstrate fraud by the borrower on the face of the application; or (iv) reflect that any of borrower income, FICO score, debt, DTI [debt-to-income,] or CLTV [combined loan-to-value] ratios, fails to meet stated Countrywide guidelines (without any permissible exception).” The plaintiff counsel is Bernstein Litowitz, which was made famous from the WorldCom litigation. We doubt they will settle for a few measily pennies on the dollar. As for the list of litigants, it is a veritable who’s who of the insurance industry: Dexia Holdings, FSA Asset Management, New York Life iInsurance Company, The Mainstay Funds, Teachers Insurance & Annuity, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance, and College Retirement Equities Fund.

  26. 30 year realtor says:

    #22 – Alvarado differs greatly from the Ibanez decision in Massachusetts. In Alvarado there is only a single assignment from one lender to another. Ibanez had about 6 different assignments within a compressed time period and none of the assignments were done in accordance with the statute.

    A Superior Court decision like Alvarado is a nothing event. The only reason this decision is receiving any attention is due to timing and circumstance. Attention grabbing words like foreclosure, mortgage, note and standing are the hot buttons, not the fact pattern.

    For those people that are concerned about every deadbeat getting a free house, this case should send a signal that there is a need to prove a willful violation of procedure has occurred before a foreclosure is overturned by the courts.

  27. Anon E. Moose says:

    Juice [22];

    This case was posted and discussed. Only in the mind of the deadbeat is it possible that the absence of the physical note means that someone other than the plaintiff has the right to collect on it. In the unlikely event that the unicorn does appear, the court orders BoA to intervene in that case. Which is the way I predicted these situations should play out. QED

    From your cited article:
    The court noted that the defendant had received the benefit of the loan from Washington Mutual and that to allow her to go without repaying it would constitute unjust enrichment…

    Finally, the court addressed the UCC requirement that, to find a lost note enforceable by a particular plaintiff, the court must determine that the defendant is adequately protected from future claims of enforceability by other parties. The court determined that defendant Alvarado was adequately protected, given the amount of time since the loss of the original note (which had occurred in 2006), the fact that it was lost almost immediately after execution, and the fact that no other person had stepped forward to make a claim on the note. In any event, the court opined that should such a situation arise, B of A was obligated to intervene and defend so that the borrower would not be held liable twice on the same obligation.

  28. Anon E. Moose says:

    30-yr [27];

    You know the statistic that people sell their homes on average every five years. Deadbeats getting seven years’ free rent looks an awful lot like them getting a free house to me. Justice delayed==justice denied, and all that.

  29. 30 year realtor says:

    Moose – do you recognize the difference between the 2 cases?

  30. Painhrtz says:

    Montklair you wonder how all those people who bought those ridiculously taxed homes can afford the with their lack of financial foresight. How appropriate that Ms. McGoey’s wristbands are going to be red.

    And of course they will rent out the unoccupied close schools, I guess no one drives around outside of Montklair so they would not notice the brownfields of fallow commercial space.

    Stu and Gator, just burn the house down and have the insurance company pay for you to live somewhere else. you live in a town of well educated idiots.

  31. Juice Box says:

    re # 26 – Cat going to need new more popcorn.

    Life Insurance Companies v Countrywide – filed Jan 24 2011 (content via Denninger’s site)

    Special note. NJ case is mentioned. Kemp .v. Countrywide

    In Kemp .v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Bkrtcy. No. 08-18700 (D.N.J.), Countrywide sought to prove that the Bank of New York, as trustee for an RMBS issuing trust that purportedly held Mr. Kemp’s mortgage, was entitled to enforce the mortgage. Countrywide presented testimony by Linda DeMartini, who had been employed by Countrywide Servicing for almost ten years as of August 2009 and was then a supervisor and operational team leader for the Litigation Management Department of Countrywide Servicing. Ms. DeMartini testified that, in her extensive career in the mortgage loan servicing business of Countrywide, “I had to know about everything . . . .” She testified that Countrywide Home originated Kemp’s loan in 2006 and transferred it to the Bank of New York as trustee for the issuing trust, but that Countrywide Servicing retained the original note in its own possession and never delivered it to the Bank of New York because Countrywide Servicing was the servicer for the loan.

  32. freedy says:

    notes out say Bergen county home values up 4% . how does that work?

  33. – hyperbaric chamber – nfc championship game time – carson palmer – bears packers game time – ohio unemployment…

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